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Miami Dolphins to spend first round pick on pass-rusher?

Despite selecting Koa Misi in the second round a year ago, could the Dolphins spend another early pick on a pass rusher?
Despite selecting Koa Misi in the second round a year ago, could the Dolphins spend another early pick on a pass rusher?

Pretty much all of the talk surrounding the Miami Dolphins since their season ended back in early January has centered around ways to improve their 21st ranked offense. There's no question that GM Jeff Ireland's number one objective this offseason will be to find pieces that improve this offense. And we all know the needs - running back, speed receiver, offensive line, and of course quarterback.

So what if the Dolphins surprise everyone during April's NFL Draft and spend their first round pick on a pass rusher?

On Sunday, this is the very idea that Armando Salguero threw out there on his blog. Say what you want about Armando, but the man makes a very convincing case that perhaps the Dolphins will be looking to address their pass rush despite featuring one of the game's best pass-rushers, Cameron Wake, and spending a second round pick on OLB Koa Misi just last year.

While Wake was simply a terror last year rushing the quarterback, Misi had an up and down season. He did show steady improvement throughout the year last year. By the end of 2010, Misi looked like a legitimate outside linebacker despite playing the position for less than a year since being converted from a college defensive end at Utah. Playing with a non-stop motor and learning how to set the edge, Misi showed more than enough promise during his rookie year.

But the area of his game where Misi most needs to improve is rushing the quarterback. Koa only tallied 4.5 sacks last year despite playing on the opposite side of a dominant pass-rushing force that opposing teams had to game plan around. Misi, to his credit, seems aware of his need to get better as a pass-rusher, saying that he would be studying film of some of the game's best pass-rushers this offseason to see what he can learn.

Still, the fact remains that despite Cameron Wake's 14 sacks in 2010, the Dolphins finished the season with their lowest sack total since the 2007 season. And like Salguero reminds us, the Dolphins did put in a waiver claim last season for pass-rusher Shawne Merriman.

So who is to say the Dolphins, who were clearly looking for an upgrade during the season, will not spend their first round pick on a pass rusher in a draft that is filled with promising pass-rushing talent?

There are a number of guys the Dolphins could look at who would fit well in their defense, either at pick number 15 or later in the first round if they are able to trade down. North Carolina's Robert Quinn could be there. Missouri's Aldon Smith. Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan is another. As is UCLA's Akeem Ayers. There's even a small chance Texas A&M's Von Miller could be had at 15.

There's actually a decent chance that when the Dolphins are on the clock, the best player available on their draft board is one of these guys named above - in which case you have to assume Ireland would pull the trigger. It may not be the popular decision. But the Dolphins tend to stick to their draft board and select the best player available.

If that was the case, as unpopular of a decision as it would be, would it be a bad idea? I don't believe so. After all, you can never have enough pass-rushers.